I wanted to be able to use the Dual Function Inflator/Deflator for trips, but space in the Cobalt is often at a premium and it's just too big to cram into the trunk when I find myself wanderlusting for those extended periods mentioned above.
Thankfully, the Ryobi 18V One+ Power Inflator is just the right size to toss into my old canvas tool bag along with the other essentials I keep with me.
For this test, I decided to try it for the very first time out on the open road while traveling to Glacier National Park. That's one of the toughest drives I go on for my tires, so if it fails me out there, I know for a fact it won't work for my needs.
A quick piece of info about this test: I won't be using it to inflate tires from fully flat like I did for the Dual Function Inflator/Deflator. I'll be limiting its use to topping off tires when they get low.
Here's where the battery goes. It's pretty self-explanatory. The battery has a clip on either side. Just push the little protrusion into the little hole until both clips engage. Photo: Ryan King, 2019.Click image to enlarge.
The Battery Is In
That's all there is to it. The 3.0Ah Lithium+ HP Battery is installed and the Ryobi Power Inflator is ready to go. Watch the trigger, though, it's really responsive. I found myself constantly firing the thing on accident as I handled it. Photo: Ryan King, 2019.Click image to enlarge.
Gauging the Situation
Unlike the Dual Function Inflator/Deflator, the Ryobi 18V One+ Power Inflator rocks a dial gauge, but don't let it fool you. The one I purchased doesn't have anything resembling accuracy. When my $12, 5-year old parts store tire gauge measured 32 psi, the Ryobi measured 38. Also, there's a considerable fluctuation in the reading between active inflation and the inflator at rest of about 2 psi causing me to need to inflate the tires to 42 psi on the gauge under pressure to get enough air in the tires to correct with. Now, to be fair, I'm pretty certain my parts store tire gauge is getting long in the tooth and losing some accuracy, itself. At least based on my ultra-sensitive hand gauge (that's my hand on the steering wheel). From what I can tell, the parts store gauge is off by 2 psi now, measuring 34 when the tire is actually 32. All of that is very subjective and not tested against a certified pressure gauge, but, believe it or not, my seat of the pants testing has proven to be more often than not, fairly accurate — at least in the past. So, I'll be replacing the tire gauge with something more accurate as soon as I can convince myself to spend my non-existent money. Realistically, I need a road gauge and a shop gauge. You know, for my non-existent shop. FYI, I have a lot of non-existent things. It's cheaper that way and it can all be purchased with the non-existent money I keep stashed in a coffee can buried in the backyard of my non-existent house. Photo: Ryan King, 2019.Click image to enlarge.
Plastic Fantastic, Too
Guess what? Remember that cheap air chuck I wrote about on the Ryobi 18V One+ Dual Function Inflator/Deflator? No? Go check it out, because it's featured on the Power Inflator as well. It works fine, it's just a bit rinky-dink and needs some care when using so as not to break the plastic lever. Photo: Ryan King, 2019.Click image to enlarge.
Putting It to Work: Topping Off the Cobalt's Tires on the Road
Checking the Tires
I just had the finicky Michelins replaced on the Cobalt with some much, much better driving Pirellis, right before this trip. I wasn't sure I would get a chance to test the Ryobi 18V One+ Power Inflator, but the roads on the way to and within Glacier National Park, didn't disappoint. They knocked a couple of PSI out of the tires and made them sluggish and harder to correct. Okay, they knocked 2 psi out of three of the tires and only 1 psi out of the passenger front tire, but it was enough to effect the Cobalt's driving demeanor — which happens to be an ideal scenario for this test. Photo: Ryan King, 2019.Click image to enlarge.
Cobalt SS/SC Driver Front Tire
The driver side front tire was down 2 psi, so I attached the Ryobi 18V One+ Power Inflator — the gauge on the Inflator read 38 psi, which was 6 psi higher than my old parts store tire gauge. I pressed the trigger and in about 22 seconds it reached 42 psi on the gauge and I had to quickly pop the air chuck off the valve stem before it lost too much pressure. I then went about adjusting the pressure with the release button on my parts store tire gauge. It was only about a half a PSI too high because I was slow to get the chuck off — I needed to be careful not to break the plastic lever. FYI, the instructions that come with the Power Inflator state a 5-minute continuous use to 5-minute rest ratio. Different from the 10-minute to 10-minute ratio for the Ryobi 18V One+ Dual Function Inflator/Deflator previously tested. Photo: Ryan King, 2019.Click image to enlarge.
Cobalt SS/SC Passenger Front Tire
The passenger side front tire was down only 1 psi. This one didn't take as long to inflate up to 42 psi. I was much more efficient getting the air chuck off this time and had 2 psi of adjustment to make with the parts store tire gauge. Photo: Ryan King, 2019.Click image to enlarge.
Like two of the other three tires, this one was down 2 psi. Another 22 seconds with the Ryobi 18V One+ Power Inflator and I reached the desired 42 psi on its gauge, which gave me 2 psi to work with for adjustment and it was all done. I never even got to 5-minutes of accumulated Inflator use, much less continuous use, so no need to rest the little handheld wonder for this test. In case you were curious, the 3.0Ah Lithium+ HP Battery started with a full four bars of charge and was still there when done. I never even needed to look at the back up battery I brought along — you know, just in case. Photo: Ryan King, 2019.Click image to enlarge.
I figured I'd be performing this test just before I went home, but I got the opportunity part way through — and then again, before I left Glacier.
Followed by a third test after I crossed that six miles of road construction on the way back — for a second time.
So, I tested this thing three times and it performed well each time. Although not perfect — what with the inaccuracy of the gauge and the pressure fluctuation with the trigger released — it performed plenty well enough for the $24.97 I spent on it to make it well worth having on any and every trip I take from here on out.
Finally, this review isn't a replacement for reading the instructions that come with the Ryobi 18V One+ Power Inflator. Be sure to read the instructions to help you stay safe and keep from breaking your toys.